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UK Waits for Scotland to Pass Gay Marriage

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Nov 14, 2013

According to an anonymous official, the UK government is waiting for Scotland to fast-track their same-sex marriage bill before passing it in England and Wales, reportedly because it will be easier to implement. But a government spokesperson denied the claims.

A Nov. 14 article in Gay Star News cited a report from an insider source who said that the Marriage Act, passed four months ago in the UK, was being delayed for a year so that the Scottish parliament can pass their marriage equality legislation. The aim of achieving Royal Assent for the Scottish legislation is March 2014; the stage one vote will occur on Nov. 20.

"These constant delays to the first ceremony are really disappointing," said Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper in the Gay Star News report. "In France, it took just three months from the passing of the law to the first ceremonies. Why can't it be the same here? Couples who love each other should be able to get married whatever their gender or sexuality."

A recent update to this GSN story indicates that a spokeswoman from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport denied the claims.

They are "not true," said the spokeswoman. "We are working hard to implement the necessary legislative and procedural changes to ensure that the first same-sex marriages can take place by summer 2014." This is the original timeline cited when the legislation was first passed.

The marriage equality legislation was initially passed for England and Wales in mid-July. As reported in an earlier Gay Star News article, the Marriage Bill passed in the House of Lords without a vote, while a vigil took place outside Britain's House of Parliament with several hundred supporters celebrating.

At that time, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay campaigning organization Stonewall, called it a "historic day," adding that he never expected to see it happen in the next 20 years, let alone by 2013. But now that the legislation has passed, Brits no longer want to wait to have their relationships legally recognized by the government.

"There is absolutely no excuse for this inordinate delay. Legislation could have been implemented in six months," said Peter Tatchell, founder of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, to GSN. "No other new law requires uniform coordination between England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland. The government is foolish to delay enactment until a year before the general election when opponents may seek to make same-sex marriage an election issue."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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